Political Cognition, Sophistication, and Heuristics

Delia Baldassarri

in The Simple Art of Voting

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199828241
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979783 | DOI:
Political Cognition, Sophistication, and Heuristics

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Chapter 3 presents the key features of the political cognition approach and illustrates its contribution to the understanding of political behavior. It describes how the concept of political sophistication has changed over time and demonstrates how the political cognition approach has been able to address the problem of the limited interest and involvement of citizens in the democratic process from a novel perspective. In particular, the chapter focuses on how this new approach is more effectively geared toward recognizing the actual evaluation and decision-making procedures that citizens use as opposed to simply asserting that voters have a limited capacity to think in terms of abstract ideological categories. In addition, the chapter discusses the problems involved in the definition and measurement of political sophistication, the heterogeneity of cognitive processes, and the use of heuristics in the field of politics.

Keywords: cognitive psychology; political sophistication; voter heterogeneity; political shortcuts

Chapter.  6283 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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